Tag Archives: 66books

2 Samuel 1-2; 1 Chronicles 11; Psalm 96, 106; Acts 21

26 Abner shouted down to Joab, “Must we always be killing each other? Don’t you realize that bitterness is the only result? When will you call off your men from chasing their Israelite brothers?” (2 Samuel 2:26, NLT)

I’ve drastically cut back visits to Facebook this year. When my own concerns are enough to manage, it felt undermining to go online and hear the seemingly unfiltered and raw (sometimes harsh and hateful) thoughts of people I know. I imagine the bloodshed of words hitting heart marks.

I guard my heart. I spend more time with my face in books about puppies, purpose, and boundaries. I read devotionals and encouragement and listen to podcasts to renew my mind and fill my heart with God’s Word. I need him.

David is king, a high point in his life, I’m sure. I read the names of his mightiest warriors. There’s one name that stands out in the long list:

41 Uriah the Hittite; (1 Chronicles 11:41, NLT)

Right now (or rather, then), Uriah lives and fights. But I know what happens later–a king will sin and there will be casualties and consequences. I read his name with knowing and a heavy heart. Must we always be killing each other?

A mob of voices. An angry crowd. A great riot. Accusations and threats.

30 The whole city was rocked by these accusations, and a great riot followed. Paul was grabbed and dragged out of the Temple, and immediately the gates were closed behind him. 31 As they were trying to kill him, word reached the commander of the Roman regiment that all Jerusalem was in an uproar. 32 He immediately called out his soldiers and officers and ran down among the crowd. When the mob saw the commander and the troops coming, they stopped beating Paul.

33 Then the commander arrested him and ordered him bound with two chains. He asked the crowd who he was and what he had done. 34 Some shouted one thing and some another. Since he couldn’t find out the truth in all the uproar and confusion, he ordered that Paul be taken to the fortress. 35 As Paul reached the stairs, the mob grew so violent the soldiers had to lift him to their shoulders to protect him. 36 And the crowd followed behind, shouting, “Kill him, kill him!” (Acts 21:30-36, NLT)

Must we always be killing each other? Oh, if the mob could hear themselves, if they could see their hearts. Some didn’t know the reason for their attack–shouting one thing, then another–but their hateful intention was clear, “Kill him!”

Lord, I want to keep close to you. Help me to guard my heart and keep my eyes on you. Words and actions are such a window into the condition of a heart. Renew my mind, Lord. Soften my heart. Let no bitterness grow here.

Courtney (66books365)

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Filed under 1 Chronicles, 2 Samuel, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Old Testament, Uncategorized

1 Samuel 15-16; 1 Chronicles 1; Psalm 39; Acts 11

Samuel gave a message to Saul from the Lord. Saul didn’t completely obey the command. Perhaps he thought he did enough, but he really did what pleased himself.

35 Samuel never went to meet with Saul again, but he mourned constantly for him. And the Lord was sorry he had ever made Saul king of Israel. (Samuel 15:35, NLT)

Those words cause me to mourn too. Tasks unfinished, or work half-hearted, one doesn’t have to be a king to do a poor job, to be selfish. The Lord, he sees it all.

Lately, I’ve been working on goals, and as big things get checked off and I consider the little things, I lose heart. These dailies, they seem quite small and insignificant (and to be honest, some things I just don’t want to do). But a friend kindly pointed out the deep importance of my diligence. And when I shifted my gaze to what God has before me, the diligence is not only shaping character, it has a potential to affect generations. These daily little things–a choice to do them or not has very real (and bigger) consequences.

David was out in the fields watching sheep and goats. His place in the family–shepherd and youngest–seeming, perhaps, quite small and insignificant. He wasn’t given a thought to be called to meet Samuel.

11 Then Samuel asked, “Are these all the sons you have?”

“There is still the youngest,” Jesse replied. “But he’s out in the fields watching the sheep and goats.”

“Send for him at once,” Samuel said. “We will not sit down to eat until he arrives.”

12 So Jesse sent for him. He was dark and handsome, with beautiful eyes.

And the Lord said, “This is the one; anoint him.” (Samuel 16:11-12, NLT)

David goes from the field to serving in Saul’s court as harpist and armor bearer. And that was just the start. He was chosen by God. Would David choose God back? (Perhaps Saul wanted to follow God, but he wanted what he wanted more, and his lack of focus would cost him.)

Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be.
    Remind me that my days are numbered—
    how fleeting my life is.
You have made my life no longer than the width of my hand.
    My entire lifetime is just a moment to you;
    at best, each of us is but a breath.” 

We are merely moving shadows,
    and all our busy rushing ends in nothing.
We heap up wealth,
    not knowing who will spend it.
And so, Lord, where do I put my hope?
    My only hope is in you. (Psalm 39:4-7, NLT)

These readings are full of wisdom and encouragement. Lineages chronicled of people, all part of God’s story. And in Acts, believers, unnamed, are scattered with the power of the Lord, influencing many lives. Life, wholehearted.

24 Barnabas was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and strong in faith. And many people were brought to the Lord. (Acts 11:24, NLT)

Lord, thank you for this gentle correction. I praise you for the big ways you’ve moved in my life this year. And I want to be passionately diligent with the (seemingly) little things. You’re looking at my heart. I put my hope in you.

Courtney (66books365)

 

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Leviticus 19-20; Hebrews 7

I know people who are generous. I know people who are stingy. I know people who are encouraging. I know people who are deceptive. I know people who are patient. I know people who are easily ruffled. I think about traits that mark an impression and define a life and lifestyle.

How will my children remember me?

How will my words or actions influence a stranger?

Whether my life is lived in a big way or a small way, it will leave a mark that seems temporary, but one that has a potential to affect generations. (Lord, help me steward well what you’ve entrusted me.)

The Lord speaks of being set apart as holy in Leviticus.

So set yourselves apart to be holy, for I am the Lord your God. Keep all my decrees by putting them into practice, for I am the Lord who makes you holy. (Leviticus 20:7-8, NLT)

I find comfort in these words as they point to Jesus, the author and perfecter of my faith. He is the Lord who makes me holy. He is at work within me, transforming me.

26 He is the kind of high priest we need because he is holy and blameless, unstained by sin. He has been set apart from sinners and has been given the highest place of honor in heaven. 27 Unlike those other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices every day. They did this for their own sins first and then for the sins of the people. But Jesus did this once for all when he offered himself as the sacrifice for the people’s sins. (Hebrews 7:26-27, NLT)

I don’t expect my kids to master any topic in a first reading. Learning takes practice. I’m so grateful for a gracious God who will walk with me all the years of my life to guide and correct me and love me all the while–on my good days, on my bad days.

Lord God, thank you for your words in my hands, that I can turn to you for instruction and wisdom. Thank you for your great patience in my life, the hard tests and tasks that transform me. Thank you for relationship–that I can be close to you and know I am loved.

Courtney (66books365)

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Genesis 13; Matthew 12; Nehemiah 2; Acts 12

God’s provision.

14 After Lot had gone, the Lord said to Abram, “Look as far as you can see in every direction—north and south, east and west. 15 I am giving all this land, as far as you can see, to you and your descendants as a permanent possession. 16 And I will give you so many descendants that, like the dust of the earth, they cannot be counted! 17 Go and walk through the land in every direction, for I am giving it to you.” Genesis 13:14-17, NLT (emphasis mine)

***

11 And he answered, “If you had a sheep that fell into a well on the Sabbath, wouldn’t you work to pull it out? Of course you would. 12 And how much more valuable is a person than a sheep! Yes, the law permits a person to do good on the Sabbath.”

13 Then he said to the man, “Hold out your hand.” So the man held out his hand, and it was restored, just like the other one! Matthew 12:11-13, NLT (emphasis mine)

***

I also said to the king, “If it please the king, let me have letters addressed to the governors of the province west of the Euphrates River, instructing them to let me travel safely through their territories on my way to Judah. And please give me a letter addressed to Asaph, the manager of the king’s forest, instructing him to give me timber. I will need it to make beams for the gates of the Temple fortress, for the city walls, and for a house for myself.” And the king granted these requests, because the gracious hand of God was on me. Nehemiah 2:7-8, NLT (emphasis mine)

***

11 Peter finally came to his senses. “It’s really true!” he said. “The Lord has sent his angel and saved me from Herod and from what the Jewish leaders had planned to do to me!” Acts 12:11, NLT (emphasis mine)

A place, a people, food, restoration, equipment, protection. And that’s just a sampling of these four chapters. (How many of these acts ended in exclamation!)

He is generous. He is merciful. He is gracious. He is strong.

21 And his name will be the hope
    of all the world. (Matthew 12:21, NLT)

Amen!

Courtney (66books365)

 

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Thank You–and Here’s to a New Year!

Thank you for reading the Bible with us in 2016. But it doesn’t have to stop here.

We’ll return January 1, 2017, with a new plan and an old favorite–the M’Cheyne Bible reading plan. It’s two Old Testament and two New Testament readings daily. Check out the plan for yourself, grab a few bookmarks and join us. We saved you a seat.

See you Sunday!

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Daniel 7-9; Psalm 91; John 19

Psalm 91 (ICB), a well loved and oft repeated psalm of refuge and protection throughout the centuries, one I have spent many a struggle professing; because sometimes it’s important to be reminded that I have a protector that can be trusted and that I am not alone:

1Those who go to God Most High for safety

will be protected by God All-Powerful.

2I will say to the Lord, “You are my place of safety and protection.

You are my God, and I trust you.”

Yesappa, I trust you. You are faithful. You are full of power. You are above all. Even in the midst of danger and trials, you can be counted on to protect me as your beloved child.

3God will save you from hidden traps

and from deadly diseases.

4He will protect you like a bird

spreading its wings over its young.

His truth will be like your armor and shield.

You outstretch Your massive arms over me acting as my covering. My Savior and Giver of Truth rescue me from that which seeks to trap and destroy me. Be my armor. Be my shield in the midst of my trials.

5You will not fear any danger by night

or an arrow during the day.

6You will not be afraid of diseases that come in the dark

or sickness that strikes at noon.

Make me brave and give me courage to face the dangers that come into my life by day and by night. Remove fear that tries to control me. Remove sin that tries to defeat me. Remove illness that tries to snuff my life.

7At your side 1,000 people may die,

or even 10,000 right beside you.

But you will not be hurt.

8You will only watch what happens.

You will see the wicked punished.

It doesn’t matter what happens around me, the destruction, the despair. My focus is on You. My understanding acknowledges Your judgement and rejoices at Your redemption, Your grace, Your mercy as I turn toward You, as I look at Your face.

9The Lord is your protection.

You have made God Most High your place of safety.

10Nothing bad will happen to you.

No disaster will come to your home.

11He has put his angels in charge of you.

They will watch over you wherever you go.

12They will catch you with their hands.

And you will not hit your foot on a rock.

13You will walk on lions and cobras.

You will step on strong lions and snakes.

I can walk without fear into the scariest of situations, the most dangerous circumstances and I am assured of Your care for me. I can be certain that You will never leave me nor forsake me. I can be firm in my belief that Your arms are a place of strength and safety.

14The Lord says, “If someone loves me, I will save him.

I will protect those who know me.

15They will call to me, and I will answer them.

I will be with them in trouble.

I will rescue them and honor them.

16I will give them a long, full life.

They will see how I can save.”

I love You Lord and I know that You Love me more than I can ever imagine. I call to You for help and You are there. You listen to my prayers. You give me answers, solutions to my problems. You put Your hedge around me, enveloping me in Your arms. You strengthen me. You encourage me. You give me life.

Thank You for being my refuge and my fortress. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Blessings,

Julie (juliet2912)

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Ezekiel 25-27; Psalm 85; John 9

35Jesus heard that they had thrown him out. So Jesus found him and said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”
36He asked, “Who is the Son of Man, sir? Tell me, so I can believe in him!”
37Jesus said to him, “You have already seen him. The Son of Man is the one talking with you now.”
38He said, “Yes, Lord, I believe!” Then the man bowed and worshiped Jesus.
39Jesus said, “I came into this world so that the world could be judged. I came so that the blind could see and so that those who see will become blind.” John 9:35-39 (ICB)

Since the beginning of time, the thing that God desires most is to be known by His creation. Throughout the Bible, every story talks about the ways He shows himself to people who will listen; and how He shows himself to the people who won’t.

He wants us to believe in Him, to know His name, to see His goodness and His power, to experience His mercy, grace, and love.

I think back in my own life about the ways that God has revealed Himself to me and realize that I probably don’t even truly recognize all of it. But I know that more than 10 years ago, He lifted the veil off of my eyes and I could see Him in a way I never had before.

The Old Testament is filled with stories of the wrathful, angry God. In Ezekiel, there is prophecy after prophecy of how God is going to destroy the nations who chose not to believe in Him and the people who chose to come against Him.

7So I will use my power against you. I will give you to the nations as if you were valuables taken in war. I will wipe you out of the lands so you will no longer be a nation. I will destroy you. And you will know that I am the Lord.’” Ezekiel 25:7 (ICB)

The key to the prophecies in Ezekiel is, “Then they will know that I am the Lord.

When the blindness has fallen away, when I choose to seek His face and seek to know Him, when I believe in the saving power of His Son, than His wrath falls away and His love reigns. His goodness is reflected to the world through my life.

9God will soon save those who respect him.
And his greatness will be seen in our land.
10Love and truth will belong to God’s people.
Goodness and peace will be theirs.
11On earth people will be loyal to God.
And God’s goodness will shine down from heaven.
12The Lord will give his goodness.
And the land will give its crops.
13Goodness will go before God
and prepare the way for him. Psalm 85:9-13 (ICB)

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Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Ezekiel, John, New Testament, Old Testament, Psalms